Tuesday, July 14, 2009

And Now A Word From Our Sponsor

pilvax magazineIt took some time, effort, and lots of patience, but Pilvax 6 is finally out. Lots of great writing here, including jazz-noir by up-and-coming Irish writer Billy O'Callaghan, a magic-realist take on Cold War radio by Pilvax designer Tom Bass, and a novel excerpt by Ferenc Barnás, whose novel The Ninth was recently released in English on Northwestern University Press in the US. But as a blog excerpt, I am going to turn you onto some found-poetry by Budapest expat and former Fastbacks’ drummer Nathan Johnson. I have always had a soft spot for found art, particularly found poetry, which I also used to assemble to pass the hours while temping in the vendor compliance department of Montgomery Wards in Chicago. Johnson’s poetry comes from chat rooms dedicated to drumming, and has a warmth and humor that really appealed to me personally and editorially. Enjoy!

The New Cymbalism

These poems are the result of exploring amusing threads on the Modern Drummer website, and then scrolling through reader feedback and cutting and pasting text as seen fit, more or less in chronological order.

While a literary experiment such as this is hardly an attempt at serious art, there is an extremely high level of truth present here. No matter how the selected texts are arranged, taken out of context, or juxtaposed, nearly everything was originally expressed in all sincerity; in other words, the poems are truly a distillation of a particular psychological and phenomenological universe: the mind and milieu of the modern drummer. Thus, in the immortal words of David St. Hubbins, they tread a “fine line between clever and stupid.”

Tiniest cymbal

I need the smallest possible cymbal
I want a tiny crash


With thimbled fingers
scratch my crashy itch
a 6-inch splash
a high-pitched, short-lived crash

What should I look for in a cymbal
if I want a tiny crash?


Sorry, I have a soapbox and a situation

I don’t want to go electronic
and I don’t want them stuffing foam and towels in my kit
Now they’re talking about putting things on my drums
Maybe they have a valid reason

We just have to end up biting our tongues
"I'm sorry I can no longer play drums
because I don't agree with these decisions."

Now I play in a church that was voted
the #2 place to hear a band in Salt Lake -
You're in a box, carpeted, veiled behind a curtain
The pastor gets to buy new gear and hopefully everyone is happy
You get to play your set (sort of)

I am morally opposed to drum machines

I suck at drums

It’s true
I tire out really quickly and then get super-sloppy and frustrated
My timing is all over the place
My feet are anything but consistent
I start having an "I suck" fit
I take my kit apart
I think this screws me up more than anything else
It's usually due to the height of my throne
I caught my jaw tightening up while playing
I have to constantly readjust myself
Throne issues might be the answer

I suck. You don’t
You definitely don’t suck
I sit down to play and it’s like I have palsy or something . . .
sweating like a pig . . .
Session ended with me whipping my stick
I sucked real bad last night

I do need to eat better
I've been trying to drink more juice and milk
Drumming requires all the muscles from your ass outwards

I'm ever so slowly learning to play
Rome wasn't burned in a day

It's ok to suck
Sucking is the natural state of mankind
Just realize that sucking is what people do, and be ok with that
It has thus been summarized

…ripped my blisters open...
Friction sucks

I want a 2-piece kit

Maybe a Yamaha kick and snare
or maybe Tama or Pearl
such a minimalist kit
the correct answer is
"full cocktail drumset"

More from Nathan Johnson's "New Cymbalism" can be found in Pilvax 6

For more on Johnson's handiwork on the drums, check him out here with original Hungarian Emo band Amber Smith

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